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Melanie McFarlane

A fellow Canadian author, who is doing amazing things. Melanie graciously agreed to take part in the "Meet the Author" series. Take a peek and see how she answered.

What inspired you to write your debut novel?

My debut novel was a middle grade novel called The Descendants. It was inspired by my brother's battle with narcotics addiction, which started when he was young. The idea of a boy who's lost a piece of himself, and struggles within to become one again is the basis of this series.

Why did you choose the path of Self-Publishing?

I'm actually a hybrid author. My debut novel, The Descendants, was self-published after I received a traditional publishing contract for my YA novel, There Once Were Stars. The Descendants had a few full requests from agents, but didn't get picked up (one was Neil Gaiman's agent for Coraline's movie rights!). I knew I wanted to get my middle grade story out, and decided to take the self-publishing route to give it a chance. Unfortunately I knew very little about publishing and marketing back in 2014. I pulled this novel off the shelves and recently publishing it in a cooperative publishing house as The Missing Guardian.

Do you have any advice for other writers looking to pursue Self-Publishing?

Never stop learning. You might think you know how to write and market your book best, but there is a world of support out there if you are willing to learn. Listen to advice from those that have paved the way to success before you.

What inspired you to become an author & has it always been your dream?

I always had a love for reading, and I believe this led to my love for writing. I've found notebooks from my early elementary years of stories I wrote. Thankfully I have a supportive family that nurtured this, and in my teen years I had amazing teachers to take me to the next level.

Where’s your favorite space to write?

I usually write in my living room with the TV on to provide white noise to distract me from my family. It's hard to find space when you don't have a room dedicated to writing. But I make it work. I have a desk in my bedroom as well, for when I really need to buckle down and work on edits. Otherwise the chaos helps inspire my ideas for a first draft.

What are your top 5 must haves for a writing space?

Laptop. Good lighting. Writing books. Water. Desk.

What is your favourite Season (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)? Is your creativity and writing pursuits affected by the season?

Definitely summer is nice, as I get to take 2 weeks off work in a row. I find the business of my work day affects a lot of my motivation to write in the evenings. And though I've tried, I'm just not an early morning writer.

How many hours a day do you write?

I try to put in one hour a day during the week. The weekends I'm free to write as much as I want.

Are you a Plotter, a Pantser or a Plantser?

I used to be a hardcore pantser, but I've seen the light and found that being a plotter is amazing when it comes to the volume I can write. This is especially important due to my hectic work week.

Because I have a pretty Type-A personality, I’m always curious about other peoples scheduling methods. Do you use a schedule to plan out your life / writing & if so, do you use paper or electronic planning?

I'm a visual person, and desparatly need to have my schedule everywhere to be productive. I like it in my phone, my work email calendar, and a white board calendar I have at home. I've also started a publishing schedule on a whiteboard in my writing area, as well as created visual collages of book covers to remind me what I want to publish next.

What is your favorite part about the writing process?

I love starting a new story. The excitement of plotting out characters, plot, and conflict is the best feeling ever.

What is your least favorite part about the writing process?

I used to hate edits, but now I've come to appreciate them. I guess the part I hate the most is when you have a deadline pending, but a new idea pops in your head but you just don't have time to dive in.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

I can write a first draft of 75,000 words in 3 months, if I don't have holidays to take at work. This allows for family time, work time, and volunteer time in addition to the writing time.

What’s your biggest internal obstacle in getting your writing done?

Exhaustion. When things just pile up too high, I let exhaustion get in the way. I've started forcing myself to take periods of "nothing" time when I get overwhelmed. Sometimes this can take up an entire evening. But I need it to refill my creativity.

What’s your biggest external obstacle in getting your writing done?

Life. Family. Trying to keep everything balanced. My family will always come first, no matter what.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it?

No. I find I get unfocused when I don't have time to commit to it. I've never had an issue with coming up with ideas - just issues with not enough time to write them.

Does writing energize you or exhaust you?

Once I get into the zone, writing is energizing.

Best piece of advice for other writers?

Keep learning. Always.

What is your Favorite quote about writing?

Ray Bradbury's quote: “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

Which authors are your biggest inspirations?

Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, Harlan Ellison, Laure Eve, Dawn Kurtagich.

What are you currently working on now?

I am just finishing edits on my paranormal thriller, The Revelation of Faithe Eileen. It goes live on Halloween. After that I finally get to start some new projects!

Connect with Melanie

Facebook: @mcfarlanebooks


Twitter: @mcfarlanebooks


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